Osho on Sufi Mystic Babajan
Born in Balochistan, Afghanistan, Babajan was a Pashtun Muslim saint. Her education was in keeping with her family’s social status of that time. Well-educated, she was fluent in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu, in addition to her native Pashtu. She was also a hafizas, one who learns the Quran by heart. An introspective child and spiritually inclined, from “early life she developed mystical tendencies, and unlike girls of her age, she used to pass a good deal of her time in prayers, meditation and solitude.”
Following the conventions of Afghan nobility, Babajan was reared under the strict purdah tradition, in which women were secluded from the outside world, and also subject to a custom of arranged marriages. She opposed an unwelcome marriage planned for her, and ran away from home on her wedding day at the age of eighteen. Disguised in her burqa, she journeyed to Peshawar, the frontier city at the foot of the Khyber Pass. It was in or near Peshawar that she eventually came into contact with a Hindu Sadguru. Following instruction from the guru, “she went into seclusion in a nearby mountain outside Rawalpindi and underwent very severe [riyazat] (spiritual austerities) for nearly seventeen months. Thereafter she came down to [the] Punjab and stayed a few months in Multan. It was in Multan, while [Babajan] was 37 years of age, she contacted a Muslim saint … who put end to her spiritual struggle by giving her God-realisation.” After that experience she returned to Rawalpindi to reconnect with the Hindu guru who, after several years, helped her return to normal consciousness. By 1905 Babajan arrived in Pune, where she established her final residence.
In 1930, several months before Babajan died, then journalist Paul Brunton visited her. He wrote, “She lies, in full view of passers-by, upon a low divan. . . Her head is propped by pillows. The lustrous whiteness of her silky hair offers sad contrast to the heavily wrinkled face and seamed brow.” The meeting was brief. Yet Brunton was clearly emotionally affected, and afterwards, in his hotel room, he reflected: “That some deep psychological attainment really resides in the depths of her being, I am certain.” On 18 September 1931, one of Babajan’s fingers was operated on at Sassoon Hospital, but afterwards she did not appear to be recovering. According to one version, a few days before she died, Babajan muttered, “It is time … time for me to leave now. The work is over … I must close the shop.”
WITH GROWING DESIRELESSNESS, SOMETIMES THE PERSON BECOMES OUTWARDLY INACTIVE. IS IT LETHARGY AND DULLNESS? WHY DOES IT HAPPEN?
Many things are possible, and it will depend. Certainly many desires will drop and many actions also. Those actions which were just caused by desires will drop. If I was running for a particular desire, how can I run if the desire has dropped? My running will stop. At least the same running on the sa0me route00 will stop.
0So when a person becom0es desireless, at least for an interim period, for an interval — and how long it will be will depend on the individual — he will become inactive. The desires will have dropped — and all the actions that he had been doing were concerned with desires, so how can he continue? They will drop.
But by dropping desires and actions, energy will be accumulated — and now energy will begin to move. When it moves, how it moves will vary from individual to individual, but now it will move. There will be a gap, an interim period, an interval. This I call a pregnancy period. The seed is born, but now it will gestate for at least nine months. And it may seem strange, but it happens. This nine months period is meaningful. Near about this, eight months or ten months, will be the interim period, and you will just become inactive. This inactivity will also vary. Someone may become so inactive that people may think that he has just gone into a coma. Everything stops.
For Meher Baba it happened like that. For one year he was just in a coma. He couldn’t even move his limbs. Action was far off, he couldn’t stand up because even the desire to stand had gone. He couldn’t eat; he had to be forced. He couldn’t do anything! For one year continuously he became just helpless — a helpless child. This was a pregnancy period, and then, suddenly, a different man was born. The man who became inactive was no more: a new energy — energy accumulated. Lives and lives of dissipated energy create this gap — because you do not have enough energy.
When desire is not there to invoke, provoke, stimulate, you just drop. Your energy is not really energy, but just a pushing and pulling. Anyhow you go on running because the goal seems just nearby. A few moments’ endeavour more and you will reach! You pull yourself on; somehow you carry yourself and run. But when the goal is dropped, when there is no desire, you will drop. An inactivity will be there. If you can be patient in this inactivity period, after it you will be reborn. Then energy will begin to move without desires.
But I say it depends. It may happen suddenly as it happened for Meher Baba: that was a sudden case. It happened in Bombay. It happened by a kiss from an old lady, Babajan. Meher Baba was just passing, coming back from his school. Babajan was an old Sufi mystic, an old lady who was just sitting under a tree for years and years and years. Meher Baba was just coming, and Babajan called him. He knew this old lady. She was sitting for years under the tree, and he had passed by that street daily on his way towards his school and towards his home. She called and he came near. She kissed him — and he dropped as if dead just there. Then he had to be carried home.
For one year continuously the kiss remained on him and he was in a coma. It may happen suddenly like this. Mm? This was a great transfer, and Babajan died afterwards because she had just been waiting for this moment to give someone the whole energy. This was her last life, and there was not enough time even to explain what she was giving. And also, she was not the type to have explained. She was a silent mystic. She had not touched anybody for years. She was a only waiting for this moment when she was to kiss someone and the whole energy was to be transferred in a single transfer. Before this she had not even touched anyone, so this touch was to be total.
And this child was simply unaware of what was going to happen. He was ready — otherwise this transfer would not have been possible — but he was not aware. He had worked through his past lives. He was just coming up. He might have become aware later on, but just now he was completely unaware. This happened so suddenly that he had to go again through a second pregnancy. For one year he was as if not. Many medicines were given; many, many doctors and physicians tried to help, but nothing could be done. And the woman who could do something, she disappeared, she died. After one year he was a different man — totally different. If it happens so suddenly, then it will be a deep coma. If it happens through some exercises, then it will never be so deep a coma. If you are doing awareness exercises, meditation, then it will never happen so suddenly. It will come so gradually, so gradually, that you will never even become aware of when it has happened. By and by, inactivity will be there, activity will be there, and very gradually inside everything will have changed. And the desire will drop, the activity will drop, but no one will ever feel that you have been lethargic or that you have become inactive.
This is the gradual process. So those who follow yoga or any method will not feel the suddenness. There are also methods in which sudden happenings become possible, but one can be prepared. Babajan never prepared this boy; she never even asked his permission. It was a one-way affair. She just transferred the energy. Zen monks also transfer, but before transferring they prepare the ground. A person can be made ready to receive the energy, then this reaction will not be there. He may feel lethargy for some days, for some months, but no one will feel outside that inside everything has become inactive. But that needs preparation, and that can happen only in schools. And when I say “school”, I mean a group working. Babajan was alone; she never made anyone her disciple. There was no school, there was not a following in which she could have prepared anyone. And, also, she was not the type. She was not the teacher type; she couldn’t teach. But she had to give to someone, to whomsoever passed and she felt: “Now is the moment, and this one will be able to carry it,” so she could just deliver it.
So it depends. Inactivity is bound to be there — more or less, but it will be there, a period will be there. And only then can you be reborn, because the whole mechanism has to change completely. The mind drops, old roots drop, the old habits drop, the old association of consciousness and desires, consciousness and mind, drops — everything old drops and everything has to be new.
A waiting is needed, patience is needed. And if one is patient, one has not to do anything: just to wait is enough. The energy begins to move by itself. You just sow the seed and then wait! Don’t be in a hurry; don’t go every day to pull the seed out and see what is happening. Just put it inside and wait. The energy will take its own course. The seed will die, and the energy will sprout and will begin to move. But don’t be impatient. One has to wait. And the greater the seed, and the greater the possibility, the potentiality of the tree that is going to be, the more will be the waiting. But it comes. It comes! The deeper the waiting, the sooner it comes.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The Ultimate Alchemy, Vol 1
Chapter title: Desire: The Link with Life
18 February 1972 pm in Bombay, India
Osho has also spoken on women mystics like Daya, Lalla, Sahajo, Mallibai, Magdalen, Rabiya, Theresa, Babajan and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- And the flowers showered
- Showering without clouds
- Books I have loved
- The Last Morning Star
- The Perfect Master
- The Razor’s Edge
- The Sword and The Lotus
- Turn On, Tune In, and Drop the Lot
- Come, Come, Yet Again Come
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha Vol.8
- The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here
- I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
- Come Follow To You Vol.1
- Tao: The Three Treasures Vol.2
- Beyond Enlightenment